Was the Boards Decision to Reduce the Amount of Annuity Benefits to Widows Applicable As It Failed to Notify Them of This Decision
In Keller v. Retirement Board of the Firemen's Annuity & Benefit Fund, 245 Ill. App. 3d 48, 53-54, 614 N.E.2d 323, 185 Ill. Dec. 189 (1993), the plaintiffs filed a complaint alleging the Board reduced the amount of annuity benefits paid to widows of Chicago firefighters in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 631 et seq. (1988)). Keller, 245 Ill. App. 3d at 49.
The Board moved to dismiss their complaint on the ground that it was barred by the 35-day statute of limitations included in the Review Law. Keller, 245 Ill. App. 3d at 50.
The trial court denied the motion, and the Board appealed, contending the limitations period barred the complaint. Keller, 245 Ill. App. 3d at 50, 52-53.
Keller held that the statute of limitations did not bar the plaintiffs' complaint. Keller, 245 Ill. App. 3d at 54.
In support of its holding, the court relied upon two separate bases. First, the court concluded that the plaintiffs were never actually notified of the Board's decision to terminate their 75% annuity benefits. Keller, 245 Ill. App. 3d at 53-54.
The court specifically noted that notice letters sent to the plaintiffs did not mention the Board's decision to terminate their 75% widow's annuity, but instead stated that at a regular meeting of the Board, their application for annuity benefits was granted. Keller, 245 Ill. App. 3d at 53.
Keller found the letters mailed to plaintiffs by the Board did not give the plaintiffs fair and adequate notice. Keller, 245 Ill. App. 3d at 53.
The court reasoned that the Board's failure to notify the plaintiffs of its decision to terminate their 75% annuity benefit called into question the applicability of the Review Law because the Review Law contemplates" some sort of adversarial proceeding, involving the parties affected, out of which will come a decision by an agency and a record upon which the decision was based.'" Keller, 245 Ill. App. 3d at 53-54, quoting Sturm v. Block, 72 Ill. App. 3d 306, 311, 390 N.E.2d 912, 28 Ill. Dec. 553 (1979).